The Clippers started the game making their first four shots, and six of their first seven, to take an early 13-2 lead. The Pistons were 1-7 in that stretch, but the energy was there and there was a sense that things would turn for the better. Unfortunately, when they did, the Pistons couldn't issue the final blow and would fall in overtime, 105-103.
We just had to wait...and wait... and wait through one the Pistons' worst quarters of the season before it finally did turn.
It did, though.
Despite the early 11-point hole, and down by as many as 13, the Pistons kept the deficit within reach for three quarters and flipped the switch in the fourth behind surges from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Aron Baynes (!!) and Reggie Jackson.
KCP started the fourth on the floor with Steve Blake, Stanley Johnson, Aron Baynes and Anthony Tolliver, and those five quickly brought the Pistons back to within one, the punctuation being this Baynes facial and hair fluff. Jackson would soon enter the game for Blake and gave the Pistons their first lead of the game at 6:42 with a triple in Chris Paul's eye, 77-75. Jackson went on to score 10 in the quarter.
The Pistons would use a 24-8 start to the fourth to build a six-point lead with a little over two and a half left, but they couldn't seal the deal. J.J. Redick hit two huge threes, including a game-tying three with 19 seconds left, to cap off a 13-point finish for the Clippers. The Pistons had the last shot to win the game, but Jackson's long two over Blake Griffin hit off the left side of the iron as time expired. Free basketball.
In overtime, blows were exchanged, including some bad whistle blows, but again some bad defense on a three pointer cost the Pistons, this time a fatal three from Jamal Crawford with 12 seconds left.
Jackson finished the game with nearly a triple-double, 34 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. He got to the line 16 times and hit 14 of those freebies. He missed his last free throw, which was tipped around for what felt like several minutes and a Tower of Terror heart drop, but the Pistons couldn't corral it cleanly and put it in to tie the game. 105-103 heartbreak.
More in a minute.